Tesseract's Amos Williams: "This is Tesseract - like it or leave it!"

"Every good meal shouldn’t be digested immediately; it should hopefully have you coming back for more"

Tesseract’s new album Polaris is released next month and the band will be here in October for a spot of touring. I caught up with the band's bass player Amos Williams for a quick chat – he’s currently living in Shanghai, China. Whallop! Tesseract/geography fact, right there.

With the band’s members dispersed all about the place, how does it affect the band’s process of composing? “It’s fine; we do everything over the internet anyway because we’ve always lived in different towns so we all rehearse and record in separate locations, give each other the files and then put it all together. Then we meet up just before we go on tour and have pretty intense rehearsals and then out onto the road we go. It’s cool and it’s quite fun.” Technology; it’s a beautiful thing. So that’s how you did Polaris? “Definitely. That’s how we did pretty much everything we’ve ever recorded.”

I mention the return of vocalist Dan Tompkins, prompting Amos to note “Yeah; it’s really cool,” So what was the reasoning behind the decision. Amos continues “It was just easy. Me and Dan and the guys have all been friends even after he left – there was no bad air or anything – so we were keeping in touch. He’s in a position where he can do this now; he can be a part of Tesseract whereas before it was always a struggle and he was unable to be there and commit fully .” He mentions the ease and naturalness of getting Dan back into the fold, adding “and because we’d already done so much touring with him, it was really easy just to have him step back on stage with us. It was one of those natural things.”

So the third album Polaris; was there any angst, or was it all smooth sailing? He sounds almost surprised as he says “It was done quite easily, really. We’re in a position now where we feel like we’ve established ourselves and our sound so it’s a case of ‘Cool, we can explore what that sound is’ and put out the sound that we really want to put out. It’s pretty cool to be in that position. With the first two albums we felt like we either had to be a part of something else to fit in with expectations or we were trying to prove ourselves because we’d changed the singer, so it’s really nice to be in a position where we’re basically ‘This is Tesseract, like it or leave it’.”

I mention that, having listened to Polaris a few times, it seems the band is getting more progressive and more expansive with their song writing. Amos definitely agrees. “We’re certainly feeling a lot more able to just see where it goes and let the song dictate rather than having a fixed idea about what it should sound like at the end, which is quite exciting, and it makes being in the studio quite interesting.” I mention my previous review of Altered States (2013) and about having to ‘put down my peanut goggles’ to fully appreciate it. Polaris is much like this, I feel. Amos cracks up adding “That’s cool! Every good meal shouldn’t be digested immediately; it should hopefully have you coming back for more. It’s almost like there should be a feeling of being almost a little unsatisfied at the end – not in a ‘this is terrible’ kind of way but hopefully in a ‘I need to delve into this a bit more’ kind of way; kind of like a good book – you can come back to it and re-read it again and again.”

I mention Dystopia, the opening track on Polaris – it’s strangely reminiscent of Michael Jackson to my ear and Amos confirms with “That’s understandable because we have a little bit of that influence; we’re very much fans of pretty much all of his work, and all of the producers we’ve worked with enjoy his work too. I’m glad that that comes through.” There are some pretty fruity stylings on Polaris but what else can you expect from a band that’s constantly evolving. We move onto the subject of the band’s upcoming Australian tour and Amos is keen – bloody keen – to get back. “Yeah – the 14th of October is the first date in Brisbane,” so what are you looking forward to? “Australia in general! It’s really cool. It’s one of those places where the country is amazing and the people are really lively, and that really helps when you’re out touring, to have such passionate and enthusiastic crowds. Also Australians are actually quite into progressive music, and there are a lot of rock bands down there that are doing things that are slightly out of the ordinary so it’s quite a fun place to be.” I mention Facemeat as an excellent example of this and he’s keen to check them out.

So will you be busting out much of Polaris on the tour? “I reckon three, maybe four, new songs because there’s nothing worse than going to a show of one of your favourite bands and they’re playing music that you’re not entirely comfortable with because it’s new stuff instead of all the classic old stuff that you know really well and love, so we’re quite aware, although we’re promoting the new album, that we’re gonna have to give it 12 months or so before we can play the whole thing.” Any chance you’ll be playing Concealing Fate, Parts 1 to 6, from debut One (2011); we all love a good 27 minute epic…he’s laughing again so probably not. “I’m not sure we’ll have enough time to fit the whole thing in! We’re getting to the stage where we’re starting to get quite a nice back catalogue and unless we’re going to be on stage for three hours – which nobody wants – then we’ll never be able to play the whole thing, unless it’s some kind of special event.”
And on that note, I thank Amos and let him go so he can psych himself up for the next interview – the poor fellow has several more after me.
Tesseract’s new album is out next month and they will be touring Australia in October.